A Socialist Vibe?

Well to anyone who has not been hanging out in Afghanistan for the last month, or has not been reading this blog, you know that the economy is kind of a big deal right now.

So much so that Obama appears to now be a clear favorite to win the Presidency, and “Joe the Plumber” has become a political lightning rod.  Obama and McCain both speak solely in cliche statements about “main street vs. Wall street” or “Joe the Plumber vs. Joe the hedge fund manager.”

Of course many are paranoid as the government has pumped and invested trillions of dollars into our banking system, making it seem as if our financial industry has become nationalized.  On both sides of the debate fear is high, as unemployment is skyrocketing and the stock market is more unstable than Adam “don’t call me Pacman” Jones.

No matter where we stand on these issues (and I appreciate all the spirited discussion on the economic issues we have had on this blog) class warfare is bubbling like no time I can remember.  And while I know even such words as communism, and socialism can make baby boomers be overcome with a cold shiver; my generation (especially because we did not pay attention in history class) does not have those same nightmarish memories of the Cold War and socialism that Baby Boomers do.

For many, capitalism seems to have failed to deliver on all of its promises.  As they look at their future they fail to understand how capitalism can give them their promised American Dream.  Globalization has set in, and outsourcing has made jobs, at least good paying jobs, somewhat scarce.  These same Americans suffer from sleepless nights wondering if that cough their child has might be more serious, but know they can’t find out because they have no health care.  They wonder how they will pay their mortgage, or if the government will bail them out like it did Wall Street.  Life is scary for many folks and they are angry that while they suffer, rich executives who bankrupt companies, leave with more than enough millions to spend their lives on a warm sunny beach.

All of this to say, this election will serve as a referendum in some ways on socialism.  What role will we give government?  How will we “spread the wealth around?”  What does government owe me?

Hear me well.  I am not advocating socialism, nor saying this is a good thing.  I am simply commenting on what seems to have become a major political reality in our country right now.  What do you think?